What percentage of Bitcoin transaction volume is due to people actually buying stuff ("goods") versus between traders, investors and speculators?

Of the "goods" volume, what percentage is for illicit purposes (drugs, etc.)?

Are these percentages relevant to the future success of Bitcoin?

  • 3
    The pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin is such that this question is very difficult to answer. How would you attempt to answer it? Feb 12, 2014 at 21:28
  • BTC China made a recent survey amongst their users and share results in conferences, so there's probably lots of reporting bias and I don't even remember if their numbers were users or share of exchange trade volume, or what exactly the numbers were. But my vague take-away impression was: 5% is for purchasing rather than speculation or investment.
    – user6049
    Feb 13, 2014 at 6:03
  • I think this is a valid question, just hard to answer as I don't think it is possible to measure directly.
    – Murch
    Feb 13, 2014 at 14:45
  • It's also hard to answer just because of the nature of money. I own BTC. I don't know whether I eventually use that to buy something, convert it back into my native fiat currency, convert it into a different crypto currency, or convert it into a different fiat. What would the transaction to buy those BTC be categorized as? Feb 13, 2014 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


It's been estimated (with many assumptions) to be somewhere around 1-4% of the total trade volume. This seems bad until you learn that the speculation market for USD is $5 trillion a day.

  • 1
    Hello Garrik, welcome to Bitcoin.SE. Could you please provide a source for your figures? You speak of many assumptions, so I think that a longer explanation would be useful to substantiate your answer.
    – Murch
    Jun 22, 2017 at 1:51

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